Updated: Mar 4
If you often find yourself feeling fatigued, bloated, and just all around “yucky,” chances are you need a good detox. Other signs can include, constipation, gas, acne, dry skin, brain fog, and moodiness. Did you know that your gut health is directly related to your mental health? The gut and brain are interconnected and impact each other. In fact, the gut has been called the “second brain." This fairly new, groundbreaking understanding in the medical community has helped immensely in treating mental health disorders.
There is what's called the "4R Program" for gastrointestinal health, developed by Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.
"Step 1: Remove
- Toxins in food
- Gastric irritants (e.g., caffeine, alcohol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Food allergies, sensitivities, or reactionsChronic low-grade infections in the gut (e.g., yeast and parasites)
Step 2: Replace
- Stomach acid (or stimulate stomach acid with bitters)
- Digestive enzymes
Step 3: Reinoculate
- Restore beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of microflora in the gut.
Step 4: Repair
- Provide nutrients to heal the gut wall or lining. Support the immune functioning of the gut."
In addition to sweating through exercise or a sauna, to rid your body of toxins, it's important to remove the unhealthy foods from your diet and replace with the good.
A HEALTHY DIET & SUPPLEMENTS
A poor diet full of processed foods, sugar, artificial colors, and additives can make us feel more sluggish and depressed. And when we feel depressed, we're more likely to turn to junk food. It's a vicious cycle. We may only get temporary satisfaction or relief--but in the long-run, it's physically destructive.
Consuming food you are sensitive or intolerant to, such as gluten or dairy, causes many unpleasant symptoms as well. A few years ago, I learned that I have a fairly common genetic mutation (heterozygous for MTHFR-C677T). Put simply, my metabolic system is a little impaired (it particularly cannot process folic acid) and my body has a difficult time eliminating toxins. Because of this, and the increased risk of various auto-immune diseases and what not, it is advised to eat whole and organic foods and to use natural household, cleaning, and beauty products.
"Leaky gut syndrome" is a condition where toxins enter your bloodstream and damage your intestinal lining--leading to inflammation, digestive issues, and a host of other symptoms. It is often caused by gluten intolerance. I am working on healing my gut, and it has been difficult to stay disciplined and consistent with the proper diet--but I'm trying.
A few foods that can help include leafy greens like kale, turmeric, bone broth, and kefir.
I use Dr. Axe's bone broth protein powder in my smoothies, and chicken bone broth for my soups. As far as supplements go, in addition to a multivitamin, a good probiotic makes a huge difference (the higher the CFU and the more strains it has, the better). I currently take one from Garden of Life (I highly recommend their supplements, which use whole foods). Taking digestive enzymes and L-glutamine can help as well.
I also eat coconut milk yogurt, which is dairy free and a natural probiotic (which increases healthy gut bacteria). I have made some healthy and delicious meals through the company Green Chef (you can get 4 free meals with your first order). They have a variety of menus to choose from to fit your specific dietary needs--like Gluten-free, Paleo, and Keto.
It's important to drink a lot of water to flush toxins out of your system (infusing it with fruit and herbs is especially effective). I am also a big fan of smoothies! Be sure to save my smoothie and detox drink recipes on Pinterest!
TAKING CARE OF YOUR SKIN
I have occasionally used a dry brush. I don't like the scratchy feel of the harsh bristles, but brushing dead layers of skin from your body (followed by showering and lathering on some purifying lotion with activated charcoal from Plexus) can help improve your skin's ability to eliminate toxins through the pores. Dry brushing can also improve blood circulation and treat cellulite. Purchase a brush with a long handle to be able to reach everywhere on your body, and make sure it has natural boar bristles--not synthetic. Another way I detox my skin is by giving myself an occasional facial with this dead sea mud mask by Art Naturals (I use this company's shampoo and conditioner products as well). I have also detoxed with relaxing baths using Dr. Teal's epsom salt soaking solution.
There are so many toxins in our environment that can build up in our bodies and affect our health--even within our own homes. I use an air purifier daily (the GermGuardian below). I usually keep it in the kitchen to ward off the bad odors from the sink and trash--and I have it on for long periods of time when my kids have colds or the flu. With a HEPA filter and UVC sanitizer, the GermGuardian traps allergens, smoke, mold, dust, germs, and pet dander. I also use these little air purifying/deodorizer bags made from bamboo activated charcoal. You can put them in the fridge, in smelly athletic shoes, in the bathroom, the car, etc.
Here are some additional natural products I use:
The need to emotionally detox is often overlooked. Keeping your mental health in check is essential, and it directly affects how you feel physically. Depression and other emotional stress can make you feel physically sick. So taking frequent breaks for self-care is important for your mind, body, and soul.
Toxic relationships are of course unhealthy, and sometimes a person with a submissive personality type can be somewhat unaware of what is hurting them, or are afraid to take the necessary steps to end the relationship. This person can be in a relationship with someone with a more dominant personality, and be easily taken advantage of and manipulated. Some signs you're in a toxic relationship include the presence of excessive passive aggression, jealousy, controlling behavior, extreme perfectionism, strict expectations, heavy criticism, and negative energy. In a relationship, being around your significant other should make you want to become a better person. So get out of relationships that drain you and cause drama. Instead, strive to surround yourself around people that love and support you--where happiness is mutual and you feel a sense of harmony.
You can also intoxicate yourself with negative emotions--such as anger, guilt, regret, shame, self-loathing, bitterness, and resentment--whether it be directed towards yourself or others. When you keep those emotions bottled up inside and allow them to fester, it is even more detrimental. One way to emotionally detox is through cognitive behavioral therapy with a psychologist or other healthcare professional. You can also find relief talking with a close friend or loved one--especially when what you're feeling involves that person. This includes forgiveness--which is an important step in the healing process. Releasing that negative energy you've been holding on to will feel like a heavy weight was lifted from your shoulders. In addition to forgiving others and letting go of the past, it's important to forgive ourselves as well. And when you do so, you will find peace.
Having a good cry every now and then is a form of detoxing and can be emotionally beneficial. Sometimes when I feel stressed and overwhelmed for a long period of time, without having some form of outlet to release (and often times feeling the urge to cry, but trying to stifle it)--at some point, I just need to let it all out. I then recenter myself with deep breaths. And I end up feeling a little better afterwards.
Just as it is important to eliminate the bad and replace with the good physically, we must do so emotionally as well. Additional ways to detox include various self-care routines--such as taking a nap or bubble bath, meditating, yoga, and unwinding with a hobby you enjoy. Spend time outside and immerse yourself in the therapeutic power of the arts (music, theatre, dance, art, etc).
Reciting positive affirmations to yourself every day will strengthen your mind. I start my day doing this to build my self-esteem and to stay motivated. Surround yourself with positive energy--optimistic thoughts, happy people, beautiful places, loving atmospheres, and uplifting entertainment. Unplug and limit your screen time and social media usage (check out my article, "The Social Media and Music Fast Challenge" to learn of my experience).
Remember to set realistic goals and be consistent. And be patient with yourself. I hope you can find healing and happiness.
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